During a recent interview, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt recalled the time he met late guitarist Eddie Van Halen through his bandmate Gary Cherone, also saying that he regrets never getting the chance to show off his recent work to the guitarist.
“On the day I was working on the solo, Gary (Cherone) was in town to finish some vocals. And Gary knows that I don’t like to be bothered while I’m recording. But for some reason, he kept blowing up my phone and asking me to go to lunch, which really pissed me off.
“Gary texted me, ‘Hey, what’s happening in there? You’ve got to come out front; somebody is here to say ‘Hi.’ I’m like, ‘Okay…’ and I went downstairs, and as I walked out, I saw that Edward Van Halen was waiting for me. They’d already gone to lunch together, and that’s why Gary had been trying to get a hold of me… which was a good reason to interrupt.
“When I got downstairs, Edward asked me to go up and listen to what I was working on. Being the Virgo and the idiot I am, I was like, ‘Wait ’til it’s done. I’ll show you then.’ And Edward said, ‘Absolutely, I’ll come back then. […]
“But he sadly passed away not too long after that. So, I’m hoping that he’s smiling down on me. But ”Rise” is special because that’s the song I was cutting the last time I saw him.”
Bettencourt added that neither he nor anyone else is to be worthy of replacing Eddie Van Halen:
“A lot of my peers and heroes, like Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, and Brian May, sent me personal texts and emails after sharing the song, which was amazing. And then, I was starting to read everywhere that I was like, ‘the heir to the throne’ that Edward left. […]
“I have to say that while that is gratifying, there is no heir to the throne of Eddie Van Halen. Nobody sits on that throne. Nobody takes that throne.
“Here’s why it’s different with Eddie: when a great guitar player passes, you just move on to another, right? But in this case, Eddie wasn’t just a ‘guitar player.’ We’re talking about a guy who changed culture and how we play guitar.
”He was like an alien coming in and f*cking everything up so much that even the legends beforehand are like, ‘Okay… what is happening here? What sorcery is this?'”